Friday, May 27, 2016

"In DeKalb County schools, building a car from the ground up is just one of Green’s ambitious STEM initiatives"

Nice article about STEM initiatives in DeKalb Schools...mentions the Dunwoody HS student effort to build a car from the ground up:

By Michelle R. Davis
The wind swirled as the black helicopter came flying in over the Dunwoody High School football field in Atlanta. It touched down to cheers and the brass notes of a marching band. DeKalb County School District superintendent R. Stephen Green emerged, having helped pilot the landing after a short lesson.
Green was on the field in November to announce a new project: Students at two high schools—Dunwoody and McNair—would be building a street-legal car from the ground up as part of a wider effort to boost STEM experiences in the district. The car, a replica of a Ford 1965 Daytona Coupe, was donated by the Ford Motor Company and delivered in 30 boxes, and students would build the automobile, bolt by bolt. As Green knows from flying the opening-ceremony helicopter, “doing” is a lot more interesting that watching.
“The intent is to get students excited about STEM and projects that will engage them,” says Green. His enthusiasm, both for the helicopter ride and the Daytona Coupe project, has buoyed educators and students in the district.
“There are different ways to inspire students to learn,” Green adds, “especially those who may not be learners in the traditional manner.”
The 101,000-student DeKalb, Georgia, district is pushing forward with a widespread STEM initiative, an effort that predates Green’s time in the district. It was kicked off during the 2012–13 academic year with 12 schools, as part of a larger $34 million Race to the Top grant.

But under Green’s leadership, which began in July 2015, the STEM project has expanded. It now includes 96 district schools with plans that range from aquaponics to coding and robotics. Many of the projects are done in conjunction with industry partners.
“If you build the excitement and relevance on the front end, then you can introduce content-rich material,” Green explains. “But if you start with algorithms and the Pythagorean theorem, some students have lost interest from the very beginning.”
Click the following link to read the remainder of the article:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

4 Dunwoody High Cluster Schools Named 2015 Single Statement Accountability System Award Winners!
Plus: New School Reports Website

Congratulations go to Austin Elementary, Dunwoody Elementary, Vanderlyn Elementary and Dunwoody High School!!  Austin, Dunwoody ES and Vanderlyn were named 2015 Single Statement Accountability System (SSAS) "Highest Performing Awards" schools.  Dunwoody High School was named a "Greatest Gain Award" winner.

May 24, 2016 

Gov. Nathan Deal along with the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) today announced that 187 Georgia public schools in 51 districts will receive the Highest Performing or Greatest Gains school awards. Additionally, GOSA released its new School Reports website, which provides school performance reports for all public elementary, middle and high schools in Georgia. These reports will help parents, students, educators and communities have clear and concise information about school performance to better understand the strengths and challenges of their local schools.
“I want to congratulate all of the award winning schools across our state, as well as the students and teachers who have worked tirelessly toward these accomplishments,” said Deal. “We must empower Georgia citizens with tools like the Georgia School Grades website if we want to continue to improve student achievement for future generations. Our communities gain a distinct advantage by having easy access to a school’s performance report, and I am confident that this website will serve as an important resource for years to come.” 

About the awards

The school awards, developed by GOSA and approved by the State Board of Education, are part of Georgia’s Single Statewide Accountability System. Highest Performing schools must earn a three-year average College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) Achievement Score that ranks in at least the 93rd percentile. Greatest Gains schools must earn a three-year average CCRPI Progress Score that ranks in at least the 93rd percentile. For more details on how awards are calculated, click here.

The 2015 Greatest Gains award winners consist of 127 schools across 49 districts, and the 2015 Highest Performing award winners consist of 106 schools across 15 districts. Forty-six schools in 12 districts are award winners in both categories.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Archery Bows Stolen From Chesnut Elementary School Gym
Do You Have Any Information?
***Updated with Pictures***

Updated information from Chesnut:
Stills from the night the bows were taken. These individuals spent a few hours that night/early morning at PCMS as well. Please e-mail if you can help identify them.

 This is truly disgusting....
Ms. Veronica Williams, Principal of Chesnut Elementary, reports that over the weekend seven archery bows were stolen from the school’s gym. As previously reported in Dunwoody Crier, on Dunwoody School Daze and elsewhere, the bows were equipment used for archery that is now part of Chesnut’s fourth and fifth grade physical education curriculum, thanks to a recent grant and funding from the school’s foundation.
Anyone with any information leading to the recovery of this equipment is encouraged to contact Ms. Williams at or the Parent Teacher Council at The PTC is offering a reward.

Wesleyan Lower School Students Get Hands On
Entrepreneurial and Venture Capitalism Lesson

As part of Wesleyan School’s commitment to fostering the development of well-rounded students, fourth graders participated in the Business of Tomorrow Expo this week.
Students were tasked with creating their own businesses from scratch that they then pitched to other lower school students, parents, and teachers – who served as “venture capitalists” looking to invest in the next big business.  After the technology expo, their peers invested their “E-bucks” in their favorite business plans.
Leading up to the expo, the school’s Instructional Technology teacher, Michael Mann, emphasized the importance of eye contact, smiles, and handshake introductions to the fourth graders.
“It’s always one of my favorites to teach because it gives our kids a chance to showcase their formatting and presentation skills, “ said Michael Mann.  “Then, they have the chance to unplug from their technology and work on their interpersonal skills.”

At the beginning of unit, Mann students to find something they're passionate about, using the phrase "if you do what you love and never work a day in your life."  Businesses included a creative painting company, a 3D printing business, and a gaming company.
“They take a real ownership and pride in pitching their new business,” he said. “It's a joy to see them growing up in front of you.”
It is the school’s eighth year hosting this technology expo. This year Mann is trying to take a select group to next year's GAETC technology expo and take part of their student showcase. This conference is where all Georgia teachers, IT personnel, and technology directors come to share ideas.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wesleyan School Hosts Nearly 900 Sophomores at College Advising Event

Nearly 900 10th grade students and their parents gathered at Wesleyan School as the school hosted the ninth annual Atlanta Invitational Case Studies (AICS) for the second time.
The AICS is a consortium of private, independent Atlanta-area schools who have joined together to help students understand and prepare for the college acceptance process. Representatives from 76 college and universities were in attendance to guide the students through a workshop that illustrated the acceptance process, answer questions, and host a college fair.
It is important high school students to realize the value of leadership, maintaining a strong grade point average, and taking rigorous classes.  To illustrate these points, the sophomores were given four fictional student files that included items such as recommendations, resumes, transcripts, and school profiles. The students, with their parents and college reps, then walked through the admissions process and voted to accept, waitlist, or deny the fictional students. 
The workshop paired with the college fair offered students and parents a realistic understanding of the college admissions process. Wesleyan School was honored to host the event.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Presentation from
Second Round of Public Meetings for Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study
Tuesday, May 10 @ 6:30, Dunwoody High School

Click the following link to be directed to the presentation from Tuesday's Secondary School Facility Planning and Feasibility Study:
I was unable to attend the meeting, but it appears, from the presentation, that it was a review of the Survey input, followed by small group breakout sessions.
The following slides are results from Stakeholder feedback.  Peachtree Charter MS could easily be expanded. I'm not sure how to expand Dunwoody HS other than expanding the recently added 3rd floor hallway to an entire floor???  Cap/Relocate Magnet, heads exploding in North DeKalb.  Perhaps DCSS could take that opportunity to totally revamp the Magnet programs.
Click on the following link to access the Public Survey for Round 2:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

CCRPI Scores Released for 2014-2015 School Year

The Georgia Department of Education today released the fourth College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), based on data from the 2014-15 school year:

Below are the Dunwoody school cluster scores. 

Congratulations goes to Austin Elementary, which had the highest score among the traditional elementary schools in DeKalb County!!!  Only the Magnet schools, Kittredge, Wadsworth  (100% choice schools) had higher scores.

Congratulations to Dunwoody High School, which had the highest score among traditional high schools in DeKalb County.  Only Magnet schools, Arabia Mountain (95.5), DeKalb Early College (102.5), DeKalb School of the Arts (99.8) and Chamblee Charter HS (87.5) scored higher. Per the DCSS Press Release: "Dunwoody was also one of 10 high schools in DeKalb showing double-digit growth in overall scores with no declines in overall scores".

Congratulations to Peachtree Charter Middle School, which had the highest score among traditional middle schools in DeKalb County.  PCMS' score, 79.5, was even with Chamblee Middle School (79.4 score).

**by "traditional" schools, I refer to schools that select students, either partially or fully, based on high GPA and Test score. 

2013-2014 CCRPI Score
2014-2015 CCRPI Score
Achievement Points
Progress Ponts
Achievement Gap Points
Challenge Points
ELL/SWD Performance Points
Challenge Points
Exceeding the Bar Points
Austin ES
Chesnut ES
Dunwoody ES
Hightower ES
Kingsley ES
Vanderlyn ES
Peachtree Charter MS
Dunwoody HS

To view individual data for each school:
  • Click on this link:
  • Choose DeKalb County - 644 from the Drop Down Menu
  • Choose the individual school from the School Drop Down Menu
  • To view the individual data from each school, click the appropriate School Type, i.e. Elementary. 
  • Click on one of the tabs, ex: Achievement Points to view the data.

Dunwoody School Cluster Facility Condition Assessment Reports

The 2015 Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) Reports are now located on the DeKalb Schools website:

I have created a small summary for each Dunwoody cluster school.  The FCA report for each school has much more detailed data.  Click on the school name below to view the entire FCA report for the school. 

Year Built
Last Renovation
Total FCI
(Facility Condition Index) %
Current Academic Building FCI %
Total Remaining Service Life %
Remaining Service Life Current Bldg. %
Austin ES
Chesnut ES
Dunwoody ES
Hightower ES
Kingsley ES
Vanderlyn ES
Peachtree Charter MS
Dunwoody HS

Condition Deficiency Priority
Priority 1 
Priority 2
Priority 3
Priority 4
Priority 5
Austin ES
Chesnut ES
Dunwoody ES
Hightower ES
Kingsley ES
Vanderlyn ES
Peachtree Charter MS
Dunwoody HS

**My note:  Perhaps instead of assigning the SPLOST IV $$$ allotted for the Dunwoody cluster to one school, those funds should have been allocated across the board to address these Priority 3 issues.??

Facilty Condition Index (FCI) FCI is an industry-standard measure of a facility's condition expressed as a percentage from 0.00% to 100.00% that is derived by divding the cost to correct a facility's deficiences by its Current Replacement Value (CRV).  The higher the FCI the poorer the condition of a facility. 
Remaining Service Life (RSL) Remaining Service Life (RSL) is the number of years of service remaining for a system or current equipment.  It is automatically calculated based on the difference of the current year and the Calculated Next Renewal date or the Next Renewal Date whichever one is the later date.
Priority 1 Deficiences require immediate review to correct a potential life/safety hazard, stop accelerated deterioration, or return a facility to operation.
Priority 2 Deficiences could become a Priority 1 deficiency, if not corrected within the next 2-3 years.  These include intermittent operations, rapid deterioration, or potential life/safety hazards.
Priority 3 Deficiences require appropriate attention to preclude predictable deterioration or potential downtime and the associated damage or higher costs if deferred further and not completed within the next 3-5 years.  
Priority 4 Deficiencies represent a sensible improvement to existing conditions.  The recommended improvements are not required for the basic functionality of the facility; however, addressing these deficiences will improve overall usability and/or reduce long term maintenance costs.  Repairs for these deficiences may be budgeted and scheduled for completion within the next 5-7 years.
Priority 5 Deficiences will include conditions that have no impact on the function or usability of the facility, such as appearance.  No action is required for these deficiences, but they are tracked since they may require future inspection or be completed as part of related epairs in contiguous areas of the facility.

Click on the school name to view the FCA Report:

Austin Elementary School Facility Condition Assessment Report

Chesnut Elementary School Facility Condition Assessment Report

Dunwoody Elementary School Facility Condition Assessment Report

Hightower Elementary School Facility Condition Assessment Report

Kingsley Elementary School Facility Condition Assessment Report

Vanderlyn Elementary School Facility Condition Assessment Report

Peachtree Charter Middle School Facility Condition Assessment Report

Dunwoody High School Facility Condition Assessment Report